Dietary supplement use among patients with chronic kidney disease

  • Marzena Jakimowicz-Tylicka
  • Michal Chmielewski Medical University of Gdansk
  • Izabella Kuźmiuk-Glembin
  • Piotr Skonieczny
  • Grażyna Dijakiewicz
  • Grażyna Zdrojewska
  • Bolesław Rutkowski
  • Leszek Tylicki
  • Alicja Dębska-Ślizień
Keywords: dietary supplements, vitamins, minerals, chronic kidney disease, dialysis



Background: Dietary supplements (DS) are available over the counter, and no detailed data on their use is available. Patients with impaired renal function are at risk of toxicity associated with DS. The aim of the study was to evaluate the prevalence and characteristics of DS use in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Material and methods: A cross-sectional controlled survey study in 180 CKD patients (stage 1-5, dialysis, kidney transplant), 60 patients without CKD served as controls.

Results: Self-medication with DS did not differ between subjects with and without CKD. In the CKD group, 20% admitted to use DS regularly, 22% did not take them at all. In the controls, this was 17% and 13%, respectively (NS). The DS use was higher among women as compared to men (89% vs. 70%; p<0.005), and people living in cities in comparison to patients living in villages (81% vs. 63%; p<0.05). DS agents most commonly used were: vitamins, mineral substances and herbs. Major indications for self-medication with DS included: musculoskeletal issues, general health improvement and prevention of urinary tract infections. Subgroup analyses revealed that dialysis patients were characterized by a significantly higher DS use in comparison to CKD stage 1-5 subjects and renal transplant recipients. The decision on introducing DS was made by the physician in 54% of cases; by a pharmacist in 9% of cases, and  by the patients themselves in 37%. Only 21% of patients with CKD, and 27% of subjects without CKD declared knowledge of any possible side-effects associated with DS (NS).

Conclusions: The use of DS among patients with CKD is similar to patients without CKD, and is most prevalent among patients on dialysis. Vitamins and minerals are the most commonly used DS. The knowledge on the side-effects of DS is very limited.


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